Are little corners
Where the Thirties persist—
Whisper in yellow light
I bought an Arts and Crafts house from The Thirties once owned by the famous poet Blythe Summers.
I told Stella, my real estate agent, that I was captivated by the house—what I didn't tell her is the fact that I've been obsessed with the former owner ever since i saw a photo of her and was led to read her poems.
The girl absolutely stole my heart. I felt we were soul mates but doomed to be star-crossed lovers only because she lived in a different time and was now dead.
My only regret is the closest that I can get to being in her presence is living in her house and touching the things she touched.
Such is my lot in life it seems.
I’m in favour of an early closing—the house is vacant and surprisingly, a few of Blythe’s original furnishings still remain, so I negotiate them into the offer.
I’m scheduled to take possession in two weeks, which will be the last week of April, and so I make an uncharacteristically impulsive decision to sell off all my furnishings and start over fresh in the new house.
Somehow the genius loci, the spirit of the place, captivates me and I end up acting compulsively, driving over at odd hours of the day and night and sitting outside, sipping takeout coffee and musing about how to decorate. But strangely, not one idea pops—it’s as if my mind has gone blank ever since the moment I decided to make the place mine.
Stella has arranged a day when I can go and visit the house and take measurements, but even still I find myself reluctant to touch a thing. There are one or two vacant spaces where furniture had been, and I spend my time pondering what could have filled that space back in Zelda and Fitzgerald’s era—back when Blythe was more sought after than a film starlet.
In a burst of inspiration, I have this brilliant idea to let the house decide, and when I do, I begin to get images inside my head.
I rope Stella into going antiquing and we spot two pieces in two different stores miles apart that I intuitively sense belong in the house. Both articles are from the Thirties—one a carved cedar chest and the other a Singer sewing machine.
She shakes her head in disbelief. “Who are you, anyway? Where is Theo Wesley and what have you done with him?”
I smile blissfully. “To be honest, I’m a walk-in usurping his body—the real Theo died of boredom and is now idling in Limbo where he belongs.”
She loops an arm through mine and giggles as we walk back to the car. “Well, I think I like this new version of Theo a lot more, even if he is a bit old-fashioned.”
“Comes with the territory,” I laugh, thinking of the strange aura that still clings to the bricks and mortar of my new residence.
She stops suddenly and grips my arm.
“Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you—your house has a name.”
I look at her, fascinated. “Really? That’s so awesome!”
Her eyes are dancing. “It is romantic, Theo. I saw the name, Sombra, engraved on the cornerstone and looked it up online—it’s Spanish and the full name is Casa de las Sombras—House of Shadows.”
I turn the name over in my mind—Casa de las Sombras—I like it. It has dignity and weight.
“Well, the play of light in the house is unique,” I remind her.
But it’s really not until later, when I live in the house that I become fully aware of all the intriguing nuances and haunting implications.